Many reports and studies have suggested that around 5-7% of delivery complications are caused by gestational diabetes (GD). Where GD is concerned in India, you have reports stating that around 5 million women annually are subject to this medical condition with a 7% prevalence in urban areas. What is gestational diabetes? How do you get it? We will cover such questions and more in our article on symptoms and treatment of gestational diabetes.

gestational diabetes

When blood sugar levels rise above the normal range during pregnancy, it refers to gestational diabetes.

What Is Gestational Diabetes  

A woman is said to have gestational diabetes when her blood sugar levels rise above the normal unit during pregnancy (gestation). It’s just like other types of diabetes but happens only to pregnant women due to hormonal changes that can be detrimental to the child and the mother as well.  

GD is divided into two classes: A1 and A2. Those with A1 can manage through proper exercise and maintaining a healthy diet, whereas those with A2 have to take insulin or other types of medication.

This condition fades away after the mother has given birth and when her body vitals come back to normal. But, it can increase the risk of the mother developing type 2 diabetes in the long run. There’s no reason to be dismayed because there is hope! By taking certain steps, you can ensure that you and your baby stay healthy. Keep reading to know more about the causes, symptoms and treatment of gestational diabetes.  

Causes Of Gestational Diabetes 

The amount of activity going on in a pregnant woman’s system is elevated. Your body is kicked into overdrive where there’s an acceleration of hormonal activity to take care of the child and the mother. And due to such intense activity and changes, you might see yourself putting on a bit of weight.

Your pancreas is responsible for producing the hormone insulin which helps regulate blood sugar levels. When your body cells are caught up by producing these special hormones, the body doesn’t respond to insulin very well, a term that is usually known as insulin resistance. All pregnant women go through this phase of insulin resistance during late pregnancy and their bodies mostly produce the required insulin later. But, for those whose bodies don’t, they’re said to have gestational diabetes.        

Risk Factors Involved 

You’re more likely to contract the condition if you:

  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Were overweight or obese before pregnancy
  • Have pre-diabetes: a condition where your sugar levels are high but not high enough to be called diabetes 
  • Have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or any health-related issue related to the production of insulin
  • Medical complications such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease 
  • Have had any miscarriages
  • Are older than 25 
  • Have delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4.1 kilograms) 
  • Have given birth to a newborn who was stillborn or had birth complications    

Symptoms Of Gestational Diabetes 

It’s better to visit a doctor before you start having a family. They will check your overall health and risk of developing gestational diabetes. Once you’re pregnant, it’s advisable to have frequent prenatal checkups with your doctor to check for symptoms of GD.

The last three months of pregnancy should be taken seriously as the risk of developing GD is high. If you experience some of the following symptoms, contact your doctor at the earliest:

  • Increased urinary frequency
  • You feel like drinking more water than usual 
  • Increased hunger pangs 
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue and nausea

For many women, gestational diabetes may not have any recognizable symptoms. Therefore, it’s important to regularly visit your doctor and have frequent checkups throughout your pregnancy.

Treatment Of Gestational Diabetes  

Gestational diabetes can be treated and controlled but it won’t go away until delivery. The body is still undergoing all those changes and that’s why it requires more time to get insulin involved in the system. However, there’s nothing to fear! You can get GD under control by making certain lifestyle changes, monitoring blood sugar, and medication in some cases. It’s important to maintain your blood sugar levels at this point. And close management can eliminate any further complications from happening to the mother and the child during pregnancy. 

Make Certain Lifestyle Changes: Controlling GD all boils down to what to eat and the amount of physical exercise you do. Doctors recommend not to lose weight during pregnancy since your body is working overtime to support your growing newborn. However, keeping yourself physically active is important to also avoid complications during delivery.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar: This is by far the most important point that you need to keep in mind. There are various glucometers available in the market that you can use to easily check your blood sugar levels. These are the recommended levels that you need to maintain:

  • Before a meal: 95 mg/dL or less
  • An hour after a meal: 140 mg/dL or less
  • Two hours after a meal: 120 mg/dL or less 

Medication: If a proper diet and physical activity are not lowering your blood sugar levels, then your doctors will advise you to take medications, or insulin via syringe to meet your blood sugar goals. Your doctor will instruct you on how to use the syringe and you may feel a bit discouraged at first. But, there’s no need to worry! Insulin injections are effective and will help to maintain your blood sugar levels.   

Prevention Of Gestational Diabetes

There’s no guarantee about preventing gestational diabetes. However, the more healthy steps you take before pregnancy, the risk of contracting this condition reduces. Even if you had gestational diabetes before, the probability of you developing type 2 diabetes and GD from future pregnancies also reduces. Here, it all rounds to making healthy life choices. 

  • Eat Healthily: Chalk your diet plan with foods high in fiber and low in fats and calories. Include fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. They are the must-haves in your diet. Have a bit of variety as well to keep up the interest. However, select medium portions and do not consume anything in excess. 
  • Ensure enough physical activity: Being active before and during pregnancy reduces the chances of developing GD. Plan to have at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your schedule. It may be a brisk walk in the park, cycling a few laps, or swimming a few stretches. You can indulge in activities you enjoy and those that are less strenuous.  
  • Keep your body weight in check: Obesity increases the likelihood of developing GD. Therefore, it’s better to lose extra body weight or fat before pregnancy. Consult your doctor if you need any help with respect to that. 
symptoms and treatment of gestational diabetes, gestational diabetes, pregnancy

For early diagnoses of symptoms and treatment of gestational diabetes, it’s important to have frequent checkups.


You need not be too stressed about gestational diabetes. It fades after delivery and even if it doesn’t there’s nothing to be worried about. It’s easily controllable. Just ensure that you attend your prenatal appointments and regular checkups to understand the changes your body is going through during pregnancy. Now that you now know the symptoms and treatment of gestational diabetes, if you feel any symptoms directed towards it, make sure to reach out to your physician. 

Taking care of your child’s vaccination appointments is one of the important things you need to be mindful of after delivery. For that, you can check out our ImmunifyMe app to help you with vaccination dates, and scheduling doctor appointments.

FAQs On Symptoms And Treatment Of Gestational Diabetes

What Is The Best Treatment For Gestational Diabetes? 

You can get gestational diabetes under control by getting enough exercise, maintaining a proper diet, and medication if blood sugar levels are high. 

Can You Get Rid Of Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy?

Gestational diabetes doesn’t go away during pregnancy since the body is undergoing immense hormonal changes. On the bright side, this form of diabetes eventually fades after delivery since the body regains its healing capacities and slowly reduces blood sugar levels.  

What Are Some Signs Of Gestational Diabetes? 

These are some signs you need to watch out for. Consult your physician if you experience any of these symptoms regularly:

  • Increased urinary frequency 
  • You feel like drinking more water than usual 
  • Increased hunger pangs 
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue and nausea